The weird and wonderful animals that make up Borneo's jungle ecosystem

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and comprises the nations of Malaysia, Brunei, and parts of Indonesia. It's one of the most incredibly diverse places on the planet, home to 15,000 plant species, 3,000 different trees, 221 different land mammal species, and 420 unique birds. And that number is constantly growing, as 361 new species have been discovered just in the last fifteen years. Here's a look at just a few of the amazing animals that live in the vast Borneo rainforest.

For instance, consider the Bornean flat-headed frog, which you can see up top. Scientists have known about this frog for awhile, but it was only in 2008 that they discovered that this is the first known lungless frog. This species, unique among all frogs, breathes through the skin, which allows other organs to slide into where the lungs would otherwise be. This makes the frog look flatter, which in turn creates more surface area for oxygen to be absorbed. The flatness also makes the frog more aerodynamic, which helps it navigate the speedy currents of it stream habitats.

Image by David Bickford.

The weird and wonderful animals that make up Borneo's jungle ecosystem

This slug lives high up in the mountains, about 6000 feet above sea level. It possess a tail that is over three times the length of its head, and it uses this tail for a most unusual behavior: it wraps its tail around its body just like it's a cat. This is highly unusual behavior for a slug, and it was enough to almost earn it the scientific name Ibycus felis, which we can loosely translate as "cat slug." Ultimately, though, co-discover Menno Schilthuizen decided to name it Ibycus rachelae after his girlfriend...because science is nothing if not soulless and exact.

Image by Menno Schilthuizen.

The weird and wonderful animals that make up Borneo's jungle ecosystem

Here's another frog, Rhacophorus penanorum. It's a tiny species, as even the biggest males only grow to about 1.4 inches. Known as the Mulu flying frog, its webbed feet and skin flaps make it unusually aerodynamic, allowing it to glide from tree to tree. But that's not the really interesting thing about the Mulu flying frog. You see, this is the frog at night...

The weird and wonderful animals that make up Borneo's jungle ecosystem

...and this is the same exact frog species during the day. The frog changes color from bright green to dull brown depending on whether it's light or dark out, and even its eyes constantly change color to reflect its new look.

Images by Stefan Hertwig.

The weird and wonderful animals that make up Borneo's jungle ecosystem

Finally, we've got Phobaeticus chani, the world's largest stick insect. The species measure an insane 1.6 feet long and, as you can see, looks an awful lot like just a regular twig. This particular species was discovered deep in the heart of Borneo, and only three specimens have ever been observed. Still, that's more than enough times for me to advise that, if you ever find yourself in the heart of Borneo, take a good look before picking up any twigs.

These are just a few of the strange and awesome animals that are found in the jungles of Borneo. Check out LiveScience for the full gallery.